NYPD Lieutenant Apologized To Fellow Cops For Kneeling With Protesters

An NYPD lieutenant who joined protesters in kneeling during a demonstration calling for an end to racial bias and police brutality has apologized to his colleagues for the gesture.

In an internal email obtained by NBC New York, Lt. Robert Cattani of the Manhattan's Midtown South Precinct told fellow police that he considered resigning from the department for the "horrible decision to give into a crowd of protesters' demands" and kneel alongside several other officers during the May 31 demonstration.

Lt. Cattani wrote in his June 3 email, that the display of solidarity haunts him.

"I know that it was wrong and something I will be shamed and humiliated about for the rest of my life," he writes. "We all know that the a--hole in Minneapolis was wrong, yet we don't concede for other officers' mistakes. I do not place blame on anyone other than myself for not standing my ground."

Demonstrations have been held in cities around the world for weeks since the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protesters often kneel or raise their fists while advocating for justice and police reform.

Cattani wrote that he didn't know how the crowd of protesters would have reacted if he didn't follow their calls to kneel, but he also "did not consider the consequence or facts of what I was doing."

It is unclear what consequence he or other officers faced.

Protests stemming from Floyd's alleged murder have been largely peaceful, particularly during the daytime, when Cattani and other officers knelt at the urging of protesters.

Some demonstrations have been marred by looting or violence. The NYPD has attributed much of the destruction to extremist groups out to take advantage of the disorder.

More than 350 officers have been hurt in incidents stemming from protests. Conversely, the department has disciplined several cops for acting aggressively towards peaceful protesters. Some cops are facing assault charges for their behavior.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea apologized earlier this month on behalf of the department for its part in racial bias and excessive use of force.

Several police reform bills were recently passed by New York State lawmakers, including one that will make officers' disciplinary records public.

Photo: Getty Images

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